Council launches taskforce aimed at tackling criminal rogue landlords

Liverpool City Council is launching a taskforce to pursue rogue landlords involved in criminality who exploit vulnerable tenants.

The council has secured £2m from a Department for Levelling Up pathfinder to launch a new way of working which will see the local authority collaborating with partners and organisations across the Liverpool City Region.

The aim of the Private Sector Housing Intelligence and Enforcement Task Force is to disrupt landlords who work with the likes of gangmasters and those involved in other types of exploitation, such as sex work and drug dealing.

A dedicated team has been recruited, giving the local authority additional resources to tackle the most complex types of cases, where often tenants are afraid to report crimes for fear of reprisals.

They will adopt an enforcement strategy after gathering intelligence and carrying out targeted enforcement to drive bad landlords out of the market.

They will also work with neighbouring authorities, as often the owners have properties across more than one area.

The partners working closely will include Trading Standards, Children’s Services and Merseyside Police to join up and share information and take action where appropriate.

It fits with the council’s new Neighbourhood Model of working, breaking down silos and working more closely with other organisations to improve services.

The taskforce is separate to the council’s Landlord Licensing scheme, which covers around 70% of the privately-rented housing sector in the city. It is focused on tackling fire and electrical safety hazards, excess cold and damp, and preventing and tackling anti-social behaviour.

The taskforce is being launched today (December 1) at a summit involving Liverpool City Council and partners at the Cunard Building.

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Sarah Doyle, said: “This taskforce is about tackling criminal rogue landlords who do not care about their tenants, nor our city.

“They are exploiting tenants for their own financial gain, taking advantage of extremely vulnerable people who are afraid to speak out because they are terrified of the consequences.

“Due to the nature of the issues we are dealing with, drawing up evidence is extremely time consuming and complicated, which is why we have secured funding for a dedicated team to work specifically on this.”

She added: “This is a key part of our commitment to improving our neighbourhoods and making them better areas places to live for our residents.

“We all want the best for the city, and by working closely with partner organisations we can, and will, make a real difference to vulnerable people, and help drive rogue landlords out of Liverpool.”

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